Thursday 22 March 2012

The Rip Hepple Nessletter Archive

In the 1970s, long before the Internet, there were mainly four ways of finding information on a subject. Three of these were books, magazines and newspapers. The fourth was newsletters. The problem was simple enough, once a book was published it was immediately out of date. New information would be published at irregular intervals in magazines and newspapers but the problem was finding out when and where such items were put on the newsstand. Some got round this by subscribing to newspaper clipping services but others subscribed to newsletters.

The newsletter was a popular publication back then and still is now being a tried and tested concept. An individual qualified in a certain subject would collate and analyse information for a group of like minded individuals. The newsletter would be sent by post usually monthly or quarterly to keep the subscriber base up to date on what was happening in the chosen field.

So it was no surprise that in the 1970s the popular subject of the Loch Ness Monster also had its share of newsletters. Well, I actually only know of two such newsletters. The first was by Frank Searle and if anyone can send me paper/scanned copies that would be appreciated. The second and best however was written and published by Rip Hepple.

Rip had been visiting the loch since the early 1960s and was a member of the Loch Ness Phenomenon Investigation Bureau throughout that time. When that group disbanded, he had established a network of contacts which stood him in good stead to start a newsletter in 1974 which he appropriately called the "Nessletter".

Encouraged by such people as Tim Dinsdale (who also proofread draft copies), the first issue came out on February 1974 under the umbrella of his "Ness Information Service". As of today, it has now reached issue number 158 and continues to be published at irregular intervals.

The advantages were obvious. Subscribers would be kept up to date on sightings, personalities, expeditions, Nessie theories and other lake cryptids. Rip's network of colleagues and subscribers would also inform him of items that could be disseminated to the whole group.

There was also the social networking element as subscribers advertised their forthcoming trips to Loch Ness and later reported back their experiences. Finally, anything relevant to the Loch in a broader sense would also make its way to print.

With that rich seam of information in mind, I phoned Rip and suggested the idea of a digital archive for his past newsletters. To my great pleasure, he was agreeable to the idea and has kindly given his consent for a number of issues to be digitised and made available to other Loch Ness Monster enthusiasts.

The process of digitisation is simple enough (albeit time consuming). The paper copy is scanned to a JPEG file, it is then uploaded to Google Documents in a structured way and then the Internet link to each issue is created and published here below.

The work is ongoing as I think only half of what Rip has consented to be digitised was in my hands. Also, an index needs to be added to guide readers to specific topics. Nevertheless, what is currently available adds up to over 200 pages in 53 issues (I think the content easily exceeds that of my own blog).

In some ways, the Nessletter is THE most important document available on Loch Ness and its Monster for its chronicles a phenomenon, its abode, followers and critics in a continuous manner for nearly 40 years now. Quite simply, a unique publication such as this should not be allowed to disappear from view. If you want a full perspective on the phenomenon that is the Loch Ness Monster, then Nessletter is a requirement.

The current archive extends from 1975 to 1985 with the aim of stopping at 1994. To subscribe to the latest issues, send a letter to Rip at the following address.

Subscription rates are: £3 (UK) or $10 (USA)
7 Huntshieldford
St John's Chapel
Co Durham
DL13 1RQ
United Kingdom

Note that the newsletters remain under Rip's copyright. Enjoy the archive, let me know of any issues and I will post updates as and when they are added. Also note that since Google moved to Google Drive that you are likely to be greeted by a thumbnail of the JPEG and not a readable image. In that case, right click on the image and select "View Image" which should give you what you want.

No.1 January 1974 (Added 5th May 2012) - link

No.2 March 1974 (Added 5th May 2012) - link

No.3 May 1974 (Added 5th May 2012) - link

No.4 July 1974 (Added 5th May 2012) - link

No.5 October 1974 (Added 5th May 2012) - link

No.6 December 1974 (Added 5th May 2012) - link

No.7 February 1975 (Added 5th May 2012) - link

No.8 April 1975 - link

No.9 June 1975 - link

No.10 August 1975 - link

No.11 October 1975 - link

No.12 December 1975 (Added 5th May 2012) - link 

No.14 February 1976 (Added 5th May 2012) - link 

No.15 April 1976 - link

No.16 June 1976 (Added 5th May 2012) - link

No.17 August 1976 (Added 5th May 2012) - link
No.18 October 1976 - link

No.19 December 1976 - link

No.20 February 1977 (Added 5th May 2012) - link

No.21 April 1977 (Added 5th May 2012) - link

No.22 June 1977 - link

No.23 August 1977 - link

No.24 November 1977 (Added 5th May 2012) - link 

No.25 December 1977 - link

No.26 February 1978 - link

No.27 April 1978 - link

No.28 June 1978 - link

No.29 August 1978 - link

No.30 October 1978 - link

No.31 December 1978 - link

No.32 February 1979 - link

No.33 April 1979 - link

No.34 June 1979 - link

No.35 August 1979 - link

No.36 October 1979 - link

No.37 December 1979 - link

No.38 February 1980 - link

No.39 April 1980 - link

No.40 June 1980 - link

No.41 August 1980 - link

No.42 October 1980 - link

No.43 December 1980 - link

No.44 February 1981 - link

No.45 April 1981 - link

No.46 June 1981 - link

No.47 August 1981 - link

No.48 October 1981 - link

No.49 December 1981 - link

No.50 February 1982 - link

No.51 April 1982 - link

No.52 June 1982 - link

No.53 August 1982 - link

No.54 October 1982 - link

No.55 December 1982 - link

No.56 February 1983 - link

No.57 April 1983 - link

No.58 June 1983 - link

No.59 August 1983 - link

No.60 October 1983 - link

No.61 December 1983 - link

No.62 February 1984 - link

No.63 April 1984 - link

No.64 June 1984 - link

No.65 August 1984 - link

No.66 October 1984 (Added 5th May 2012) - link 

No.67 December 1984 - link

No.68 February 1985 - link

No.70 June 1985 - link

No.71 August 1985 - link

No.72 October 1985 - link

No.73 December 1985 - link

No.74 February 1986 - link

No.75 April 1986 - link

No.76 June 1986 - link

No.77 August 1986 - link

No.78 October 1986 - link

No.79 December 1986 - link

No.80 February 1987 - link

No.81 April 1987 - link

No.82 July 1987 - link

No.83 August 1987 - link

No.84 October 1987 - link

No.85  December 1987 - link

No.86 February 1988 - link

No.87 April 1988 - link

No.88 June 1988 - link

No.89 August 1988 - link

No.90 October 1988 - link

No.91 December 1988 - link

No.92 February 1989 - link

No.93 April 1989 - link

No.94 June 1989 - link

No.95 August 1989 - link

No.96 February 1990 - link

No.97 April 1990 - link

No.98 July 1990 - link

No.99 August 1990 - link

No.100 November 1990 - link

No.101 March 1991 - link

No.102 June 1991 - link

No.103 August 1991 -  link

No.104 October 1991 - link

No.105 December 1991 - link

No.106 January 1992 - link

No.107 March 1992 - link

No.108 May 1992 - link

No.109 July 1992 - link

No.110 September 1992 - link

No.111 January 1993 - link

No.112 March 1993 - link

No.113 June 1993 - link

No.114 August 1993 - link

No.115 November 1993 - link

No.116 January 1994 - link

No.117 April 1994 - link

No.118 - TBD

No.119 October 1994 - link

No.120 January 1995 - link